The Value of a Broad-Based Education

We at MTSU embrace that 79 percent of our graduates remain in Tennessee—and 56 percent stay within an hour’s drive of Nashville. That we are the No. 1 choice of adult learners and the No. 1 choice of transfer students, many of whom turn to our campus after entering higher education through the Tennessee Promise. That so many first-generation students and veterans turn first to us, knowing we can help them reach their goals.

And while we are proud of our many degree programs developed with industry partnerships or in response to workforce needs, many of which are included in this report, we are equally proud of the broad-based education we provide our students in the arts, humanities, and sciences. While a technical and vocational education is indeed valuable, we at MTSU also value the worth and benefit in helping Tennesseans think critically, broaden their horizons, understand different cultures, and appreciate the beauty, elegance, and nuances of the world beyond a specific vocation.

Our goal is not only to prepare our students for their first job, but for careers that might not yet exist. The deeper dive afforded by a robust general-education curriculum is what distinguishes a university from a technical school. We at MTSU prepare ready-to-work graduates who also can reflect, analyze, compare, and understand much more and, in doing so, become engaged citizens of our state.

Ready to Work

  • One in five college graduates in greater Nashville holds an MTSU degree, making us the No. 1 provider to the region’s workforce.
  • In all, MTSU has more than 64,000 alumni working across greater Nashville.
  • Our alumni run companies. They win Grammys. They teach our children. They cure diseases. They create, innovate, and succeed.
  • They also give our current students the largest area alumni network to help locate jobs.
  • The University plays a crucial role in helping community college students, technology center graduates, and adults alike finish their degrees and join Tennessee’s workforce more quickly and prepared to lead.
  • MTSU is the No. 1 choice of transfer students, adult learners, and first-generation college students in the Volunteer State.
  • As such, MTSU serves as the capstone of Tennessee’s higher educational program built on the Tennessee Promise and the Drive to 55.
  • From aerospace to agriculture, and finance to health care and concrete management, our grads are ready to work.

Here are a few highlights of some of our programs that have a direct industry focus and strong experiential ties. True Blue!

Hands on Experience

MTSU believes in the value of applied knowledge—merging classroom knowledge with real-world work environments through Experiential Learning (EXL) initiatives. A classroom for our students may be behind a camera at Bonnaroo, adjusting a robot at the Nissan manufacturing facility, helping patients on an underwater treadmill, combing an archaeological dig, or helping veterans with equestrian therapy.

200+ EXL courses with real-world experiences

Co-ops, internships, service learning, and study abroad

Undergrad research usually available to just grad students

Combat to Campus to Career

MTSU ranks among the nation’s best in helping veterans develop their unique talents and draw on their military careers to succeed in business and industry. Veterans get special academic, employment, and other support services from the Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans and Military Family Center. 3,200-square-foot veterans center among largest in U.S. Partnerships with businesses to hire veteran graduates Advisors, peer mentoring, benefits assistance, counseling, and prior learning credits for military experience

Daniels Center group

Accounting and Finance  

  • Ranked 34th nationally in 2019 for Best Online Master's in Finance Programs by (only Tennessee university listed)
  • 1 of only 183 institutions worldwide with an additional AACSB accreditation for accounting.
  • Grads in senior positions at Deloitte, HCA, and Pinnacle.
People looking at report


  • Top 3 program in the nation
  • 1 of 8 schools recently selected for new partnership supplying pilots to Delta Air Lines
  • Only 360-degree, seamless virtual air traffic control tower of its kind in the world
  • 1 of 5 unmanned aircraft degree programs in U.S.
  • Grads in senior positions at FedEx, Southwest, and Nashville International Airport
Aerospace student


  • 500-acre, hands-on agriculture laboratory produces milk (and honey) bottled by MTSU students and sold at campus and retail shops
  • MTSU Creamery first awarded the state’s new Tennessee Milk logo, along with another dairy
  • Grads in senior positions at Jack Daniel’s, Tennessee Farm Bureau, and Tennessee Farmers Coop
Student working in field

Apparel Design 

  • Partners for student experience in annual Nashville Fashion Week
  • Nashville ranks fourth in the U.S. in numbers of fashion designers, earnings, and industry activity—behind New York, Los Angeles, and Columbus, Ohio (corporate home of retail giants)
  • Only public university in Tennessee offering an Apparel Design program
  • Grads in senior positions at Genesco, Fruit of the Loom, and Belk
Student measuring outfit


  • Ranked 17th among the nation’s top schools for aspiring entrepreneurs by LendEDU
  • Innovative sales laboratory for students in new Professional Selling concentration to hone skills to become ready-to-hire graduates
  • Professional training for all grads through an exclusive arrangement in Tennessee with
    Dale Carnegie
  • University-owned real estate brokerage firm gives students real-world experience before graduation
  • Master’s in Management ranked No. 21 in the nation by Top Management Degrees (behind only Duke in eight states bordering Tennessee)
  • Accreditation in top 1.5% of business schools nationwide
  • Customizable M.B.A. degree, now with Music Business and Health Care Management concentrations, that can be completed online or on campus in only 12 months—a ticket to greater opportunities for employment, promotions, and income
  • Grads in senior positions at Healthways, Caterpillar Financial, and Dollar General
Student business presentation

Computer Science 

  • State’s largest Computer Science program, helping fill the approximately 1,500 open tech positions in the Nashville area
  • MTSU graduated 1 in 5 area students earning a tech-related degree in 2017, the most of 36 local institutions
  • Holds 36-hour annual Hack-MT for students to invent new web platforms, mobile apps, and electronic gadgets
  • Grads in senior positions at Dell, Google, Gibson Guitar, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and Passport Health
Student at HackMT

Criminal Justice 

  • New $38 million academic building opening in 2020 with emergency management simulation facilities
  • Partnership with TBI enabling State Academy graduates to earn 9 hours of college credits from MTSU
  • Grads in senior positions at U.S. Secret Service, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Tennessee Highway Patrol, and U.S. Border Patrol
Crime Bus

Concrete and Construction Management 

  • First-of-its-kind academic program in concrete industry management in the nation (launched in partnership with industry)
  • Blend of technical, business, and general education coursework providing entry into jobs such as quality control, estimating, technical sales, operations, project management, superintendent, purchasing, marketing, and BIM specialist
  • Required internship/co-op allowing every student to experience the industry from the inside before graduation
  • 9+ job offers per grad (average starting salary: $55,000+)
  • Grads in senior positions at Beazer Homes, Turner Construction, and TVA
Studnet working


  • Produces 250–300 teaching license candidates each year, feeding a critical pipeline facing an ever-growing teacher shortage in the state and nation
  • Piloted the innovative Ready2Teach training program
  • Teacher candidates heavily recruited by ever-expanding Rutherford County Schools district, one of state’s largest, which hired about 500 teachers last year alone
  • Launched a first-of-its-kind doctoral degree in 2013, Ed.D. in Assessment, Learning, and Student Success targeting Pre-K through 12th grade
  • Grads in senior positions throughout Tennessee and surrounding states
Student teaching

Industrial / Organizational Psychology 

  • Students working with real clients in MTSU’s Center for Organizational and Human Resources Effectiveness (COHRE), such as Tennessee Highway Patrol and Jack Daniel’s Distillery
  • Ranked best in the nation for master’s program by the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, the premier organization in the field
  • Fastest-growing occupation in the U.S., according to the Department of Labor
  • Grads in senior positions at U.S. Bank, SMS Holdings, and Rutherford County government
People around table

Journalism and Strategic Media 

  • Cross-trains new-age multimedia journalists in fast-changing industry, who chronicle the so-called “first rough draft of history”
  • Multiple Emmy Award- winning alumni and faculty
  • Boasts Center for Innovation in Media, along with two TV studios and two radio stations
  • Grads in senior positions at NBC News, Associated Press, The Tennessean, and DVL Seigenthaler
Students in lab

Master of Professional Science 

  • Groundbreaking two-year program combining business and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) curricula to produce in-demand, working graduates
  • 70%+ of students offered a job after internship
  • 90%+ of students employed at graduation
  • $60,000–$70,000 average salaries for graduates
  • Grads in senior positions at Aegis Sciences, BlueCross/BlueShield of TN, Novus International, and Tennessee Valley Authority

Master of Professional Studies 

  • Designed for working professionals who want to enhance their skills and advance their careers
  • Available completely online
  • Three concentrations: Strategic Leadership, Human Resources Leadership, and Training and Development
  • Grads in senior positions at Kirkland’s, United Way, Tractor Supply, and the State of Tennessee
People talking

Mechatronics Engineering 

  • Launched in partnership with Bridgestone and Nissan in response to their needs
  • Only Siemens Level 3 certification program in the U.S.
  • Among the fastest-growing degree programs in Tennessee, now boasting approximately 400 students
  • $65,000–$75,000 average yearly salary
  • Enhanced state-of-the-art computer-aided design software available to students from recent Siemens gift valued at $2.2 million
  • Earned Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) accreditation in five years
  • Grads in senior positions at Boeing, Insequence Corp., and CalsonicKansei
  • Engineering Technology grads in senior positions at General Mills, General Motors, and Vought Industrees
  • Engineering Technology grads in senior positions at General Mills, General Motors, and Vought Industries
Student working

Media Arts 

  • Student experiential learning opportunities include working relationship with Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival
  • Boasts $1.7 million mobile production lab for students to work live events
  • No. 33 best public animation school in the U.S. (and one of the first digital animation programs in the world)
  • Grads in senior positions at DreamWorks Animation, Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), ESPN, National Public Television, and Disney
Student with camera


  • 94% pass rate for graduates on Nursing Licensure Exam in 2018
  • Master of Science in Nursing (M.S.N.) program ranked
    No. 15 in the U.S. for online graduate programs by SR Education Research Publishers
  • Grads in senior positions at Nashville General, Vanderbilt Medical Center, and LifePoint
Student runnin scan

Recording Industry 

  • No. 1 audio engineering program in U.S. (Audio Assemble)
  • Top 25 for music business (Billboard and Hollywood Reporter)
  • 17 Grammy-winning projects by MTSU alumni and faculty (9 alumni nominated
    in 2019)
  • Spotlighted by NBC News as a standout in educating the next generation of music industry pros
  • Grads in senior positions at CMT, BMI, and the Grand Ole Opry
NBC Spotlight about the department

Supply Chain Management 

  • Strong network of industry partners, including Schneider Electric, Schwan Cosmetics, Nissan North America, Yoplait/General Mills, and Ingram Content Group
  • New undergraduate concentration (to go along with master’s program) to help meet industry demand of six to nine unfilled openings in the global distribution hub of Tennessee and mid-state for each supply chain graduate
  • Conducted inaugural Supply Chain Management Camp for area high school students, with plans to pursue community college partnerships that culminate with MTSU degrees
  • Grads in senior positions at PepsiCo, State Farm, Nissan North America, The Hershey Company, and Walter Meier Manufacturing
Man speaking to class

Innovative Employees and Entrepreneurs

All MTSU students, regardless of their chosen career path and major, receive a broad-based general education at MTSU. The acquisition of a comprehensive education, instead of only specializing in one skill that could become less important in a decade or two, actually prepares students to handle the serpentine twists of the job market over the course of a lifetime.

Employers seek employees who can think critically and creatively, work with other people in teams and solve problems, communicate well both verbally and in writing, and exercise good decision-making—skills fostered in general education courses and through College of Liberal Arts disciplines.

  • MTSU’s vast legislative internship program fosters future policymakers
  • Entrepreneurial and innovative ideas are commonly sparked by individuals with liberal arts backgrounds
  • MTSU leads all other universities in the state of Tennessee in higher education humanities projects highlighted by the National Humanities Alliance

People who are engaged in the world around them, who are intellectually curious and understand nuance, add a great deal to our Tennessee citizenry and have a much better chance of achieving innovation and solutions than people who lack those abilities. Said another way, in an age of constantly transforming and shifting work environments, the ability to keep one’s eyes open and to see the big picture—the picture that serves the community, the state, and the nation best—may be the most valuable workforce skill of all.

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Looking Ahead

MTSU is ever-launching new programs aimed at meeting the workforce needs and demands of local and regional industry.

  • University College’s B.S. in Integrated Studies, designed as a degree-completion program for adult, non-traditional students, has grown 240% in the past 5 years.
  • With a growing national trend toward bolder, flavored food and drink, MTSU launched a major in Fermentation Science, the first degree program of its type in Tennessee and rare in the Southeast.
  • This fall, we will implement a new degree program in Tourism and Hospitality Management in response to requests from the state’s second-largest industry. This is the only degree of its type in middle Tennessee.
  • Self-driving cars and integrated health care databases are among research areas that require the emerging field of “big data” to address. MTSU’s new Data Science Institute is developing public-private partnerships like the one it has with mid-state social impact technology company Hytch to see how users of its app-based rewards program are affecting traffic. MTSU also is creating a new Data Science degree.
  • MTSU plans to start a program to train physician assistants, the fastest-growing area of need in health care in Tennessee and the U.S. The University developed an accelerated pathway with Meharry Medical College for talented students to graduate as physicians to serve in rural areas of the state. MTSU has entered into a similar agreement for qualifying students’ direct admission into Union University’s College of Pharmacy.